Story at a glance

  • The lawsuit was filed against Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell and the industry group American Petroleum Institute.
  • The suit accuses the companies of misrepresenting their fuels as “cleaner” to consumers.
  • A previous, similar lawsuit filed in 2018 against BP, Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and Shell was rejected by the federal appeals court last month.

New York City filed a lawsuit against three leading oil companies and an industry trade group on Thursday, which is Earth Day.

The lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell and the industry group American Petroleum Institute states that the oil giants “have systematically and intentionally misled consumers” by misrepresenting their fuels as “cleaner” and “emissions-reducing” despite not disclosing the true environmental effects.


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The latest lawsuit comes following a federal appeals court’s rejection of a previous suit earlier this month that was filed in 2018 against BP, Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and Shell. In that suit, the city tried to have the companies held liable for the cost of the effects of global warming they produce.

“The defendants in our lawsuit have spent millions to persuade consumers that they present a clean, green choice. But they don’t,” New York City Corporation Counsel James Johnson told Reuters.

Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton told Reuters, “These lawsuits have no merit and do nothing to advance meaningful efforts that address climate change. We support global efforts from policymakers, companies and individuals to develop real solutions.”

Similarly, Paul Afonso, API’s chief legal officer, referred to the suit as “meritless.”

A spokeswoman for Shell told Changing America, "We are disappointed to see the City of New York file yet another climate change lawsuit after the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of what is functionally the same suit mere weeks ago. Tackling climate change is a significant challenge the world faces today; it requires smart policy from government supported by inclusive action from all business sectors, including ours, and from society as a whole. We intend to play a leading, transparent and collaborative role in helping society face this challenge."

BP declined to comment.


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Published on Apr 22, 2021